neu·ro·sis (n-rōsĭs, ny-)
n. pl. neu·ro·ses (-sēz)
A mild mental disorder characterized by excessive anxiety, insecurity, or obsession, usually compensated for by various defense mechanisms.
Usage Note: The word neurosis has been used since the 1700s, when it referred broadly to a "nervous disease." With the advent of Freud's theory of psychoanalysis in the late 1800s, neurosis evolved to refer to mental disorders resulting from internal psychological conflicts rather than from neurological diseases or conditions. Today, the words neurosis and neurotic are no longer used in formal psychiatric diagnosis. The conditions formerly referred to as neurotic are now described with many other terms, such as anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Neurosis and neurotic are still frequently used in informal conversation and writing to denote recurrent worry and anxiety.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.